More than 200 fleet professionals, of whom 20 percent were first-time attendees, attended the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association’s (AFLA) 2003 conference held Sept. 10-13 in Tucson. “The number of new people attending the annual AFLA conference was a record,” said Scott Thredgold, outgoing AFLA president. “Of these new attendees, half were corporate fleet managers.” AFLA promotes its annual conference as the advanced forum for commercial fleet professionals. One of the two keynote speakers was Kevin Koswick, executive director of Ford’s North American Fleet, Lease & Remarketing Operations, who presented a forecast of future developments in the fleet market. Koswick predicted the Big 3 will continue to dominate the commercial fleet market due to their product investment, portfolio diversity, and personal relationships, despite loss of market share on the retail side of the business to import-badged companies. Koswick predicted improved automotive sales due to the Tax Relief Act, which went into effect on July 1, 2003. The other keynoter was George Kilroy, president/CEO of PHH Arval, who spoke on future fleet management capabilities and challenges. According Kilroy, the key challenges facing fleet managers are pressures to reduce cost, skyrocketing insurance premiums, the growing perception of fleet as a commodity, the challenges of strategic sourcing, and the low resale values for fleet vehicles in the wholesale used-vehicle market. During the conference, AFLA also announced its new officers. Jim Anselmi of Lorillard Tobacco is the association’s new president. Rick Nicoletti of the Napleton Fleet Group is executive vice president; Patsy Brownson of Cox is vice president; Debra Watkins of PHH Arval is secretary; Charlie Vogelheim of Kelley Blue Book is director of remarketing; Jim Hoffer of the Mike Anderson Automotive Fleet Network is director of dealers; and Joe Gholston of DaimlerChrysler is director at large. The 2004 AFLA conference will be held Sept. 8-11, 2004 at the Hyatt Newporter in Newport Beach, CA.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials